Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by Tom


What Is Social Anxiety Disorder? Causes & Symptoms

What is social anxiety

Social anxiety disorder is a type of anxiety disorder also called social phobia. It may be normal for people to feel nervous, fear or anxious at some occasions, for instance, giving a speech, taking part in a ball full of new people. But people with social anxiety disorder always suffer from a strong fear of being judged by others and the fear can even extended to just in the way of going to work or school or doing other everyday things.

Social anxiety disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by excessive and unreasonable fear of social situation. Being difficult to overcome, people with social anxiety disorder are afraid of doing things in front of other people, even the most common things like eating or drinking in front of other people.

Causes of social anxiety

As many other mental health conditions, the exact cause of social anxiety disorder is not clear and the interaction of environment and genes seem play a role.

Genetics. For the fact that social anxiety disorder runs in families, the inherited traits are suspected to be one possible factor but how much if this may due to genetics are remain unknown.

Negative experiences. People who suffer from negative experiences like teasing, bullying, and humiliation in childhood are more prone to develop social anxiety disorder. Negative events like family conflict may also be related to social anxiety disorder too.

Brain chemistry and structure. The biological factors seem to be the contributors too. A brain chemical called serotonin is related to the regulation of mood and emotions. Once the serotonin is out of balance, people may be extra-sensitive and develop the social anxiety disorder.

What Is Social Anxiety Disorder? Causes & Symptoms

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

People with social anxiety may show signs and symptoms at emotional, behavioral and physical aspects.

Emotional aspects:

  • Feel overly self-conscious; pay high self-attention after the activity
  • Fear of interacting with strangers
  • Be afraid of situation that may be judged by other people
  • Worry for days or weeks before an event that have many other peoples
  • Fear to be noticed being anxious

Behavioral aspects:

  • Act distantly to large groups of people
  • Avoid being the center of attention
  • Avoid making eye contact
  • Difficultly talking
  • Isolating from social events

Physical aspects:

  • Blushing, sweating, trembling or shaking
  • The heart beat fast
  • Shaky voice
  • Sold, clammy hands
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Muscle tension


Image by © Randy Faris/Corbis

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